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Blog: Getting the Bocce Ball Rolling

The way some people are about trying the newest wine bar or restaurant? I'm that way about sports. If you offer an open house or a chance to try something new, I'm there. And while I haven't stuck with everything I tried (I was epically bad at curling, for instance), I'm always grateful for the opportunity to investigate another activity.

National Bocce Day is Saturday, Aug. 13, and according to BocceNation.com, is the perfect time to try this sport. For those unfamiliar with it, the website for the event notes that bocce "is one of the world's oldest sports, discovered over 5,000 years ago, starting with Egyptians, Greeks and Romans." An impressive pedigree like that is just one more reason to give bocce a chance, but here are a few more: it's low-impact, multigenerational, can take place on a variety of surfaces, and it's even a wheelchair-accessible sport. Although professional courts have been set up in many cities, temporary courts can be used, and so can lawns.

Bocce Day is an industry-wide initiative of bocce manufacturers, retailers, facilities, leagues and events to promote the sport to Americans of all generations, demographics and physical abilities. There will be nationwide events and celebrations, with event proceeds to benefit designated charity and non-profit organizations. The site even has a "Find a Bocce Facility Near You" locator. Already know where bocce is and want to join the initiative? You can do that on the site, too.

Internationally, the sport is governed by the International Bocce Federation, although you may find the site of the United States Bocce Federation easier to understand unless you're multilingual. The USBF site includes a listing of the rules, proper court construction and more.

One of the great places in Baltimore City to try bocce is Little Italy (the sport was brought to the U.S. primarily by Italian immigrants), where one can find courts, leagues, tournaments and more. And come Aug. 13, that's where you'll find me, too. Even if I turn out to be as bad at bocce as I was at curling, I can always have a seat at one of the little cafes and enjoy gelato afterwards.

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